The Oil Age Journal

Becoming Aware of Peak Oil: An Autobiographical Sketch
C. J. Campbell

Abstract

This paper sets out the processes by which I became aware of the issue of Peak Oil, and outlines the subsequent modelling and publications I produced that address this subject.
Awareness of the issue stemmed primarily from a number of regional – and subsequently, global – studies carried out within oil companies. These focussed on gathering reliable data, primarily on quantities of oil discovered; and also on obtaining estimates of the likely amounts of oil yet-to-find. The work included writing internal company reports, consultancy reports, a widely-quoted 1998 Scientific American article (The End of Cheap Oil, written jointly with Jean Laherrère), and a series of other articles and books. While the primary object of these studies was the distribution of Conventional oil, attention was also paid to the impact of improving discovery methods and extraction technology; of higher oil price; and to the likely production of various classes of Non-conventional oil. Included in the paper is discussion of how my estimates for the ultimately recoverable resource (URR) of Regular conventional oil have changed over time.
The prediction we made in the Scientific American article was that global production of Conventional Oil would reach peak before 2010. The peak in the global production of Regular Conventional oil occurred in 2005, and global production of ‘all-conventional’ oil has been on plateau since this date. As a result, the world’s increased demand for oil since then has had to be met by production of the generally more expensive, and lower EROI, Non-conventional oils.

Campbell, C. (2017) Becoming Aware of Peak Oil: An Autobiographical Sketch. The Oil Age 3 (3) 1-18

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